Case Study 2 | Natural Gas Region / Water Contamination of a Private Well


Northeastern Pennsylvania (Area with Natural Gas Development Along Pipeline)


Water contamination study of a private well. Homeowner complained about stains in dish washer, and on clothes washed, and discolored water over time.  

water test samples
Water taken at the well (left) and same water after 30 minutes exposure to air (right)

Level 1 Observational Testing / Water Issues

1. Metallic taste and odor.
2. Water staining (brown to black).
3. Black sediment or precipitate - problems caused by a water bacteria.
4. Clear water had a metallic taste and left some reddish to brown staining indicating Iron and possibly Manganese.
5. The water also had small black particles in the toilet reserve tank, possibly copper and manganese and slime coatings with a metallic sheen on the water.

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Neighborhood Environmental Report

Activities in the area - gas drilling, quarry, excavation, septic systems, and agricultural runoff.

To find out activity in your area, order a Neighborhood Environmental Report.

Inspection & Assessment
Level 2
and Level 3 Testing

1. The water was tested and the level of dissolved iron and manganese were above the Secondary Drinking Water Standards along with Nuisance Bacteria.
2. Documented well construction and water level. Checked the general water quality and found:
Low ORP - reducing conditions
3. High Nuisance Bacteria, especially Slime Bacteria
4. Elevated dissolved Iron and Manganese

Treatment / Action

1.  Purged well and Shock Disinfect well water- twice. In step 1, we added Chlorine (NSF approved Well Sanitizer) and after purging the chlorine we added a liquid citric-acid-based cleaner. The first step helped to first remove and dislodge the biofilm and the second step helped to remove some of the chemical coating of iron and manganese. We did not add the chemicals together (combine the steps) because that would have created chlorine gas. During the first step the ORP (Oxidation Reduction Potential) was increased to over 800 mv (Highly oxidizing). This is why you need a professional!

2. Cleaned the dishwasher and clothes washer with a citric-acid-based cleaner (Link to Lemi Shine Natural Dishwasher Cleaner).


The yield of the well and water taste improved and the levels of Iron and Manganese were reduced, but Manganese was still above the secondary drinking water standard;  the well water was negative for total coliform bacteria. The water was clear, but there was still some aquifer debris and well casing corrosion. We recommended the installation of a whole-house particle filter and we also recommended treatment to control manganese.

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